Mike Halford

Adam Pardy
Getty

Florida signs veteran d-man Pardy to PTO

The Panthers spent most of this offseason overhauling their blueline, and that trend may continue into training camp.

Per TSN’s Gary Lawless, journeyman defender Adam Pardy has agreed to join Florida on a training camp PTO. Pardy, 32, split last season between Winnipeg and Edmonton after the Oilers picked him up off waivers in late February.

At 6-foot-4 and 227 pounds, Pardy’s always been a robust physical player that plays with an edge (something the Panthers lost in trading away Erik Gudbranson this summer).

His skating and offensive ability have been called into question, though — he’s never scored more than 10 points in a single season — and there are concerns about his ability to keep up.

Still, he could fit as a depth guy in Florida.

There will be an adjustment period next season, as newbies Keith Yandle, Jason Demers and Mark Pysyk try to gain familiarity next to their new d-man partners.

Based on the current look of Florida’s depth chart, Pardy would need to leapfrog the likes of Jakub Kindl or Mike Matheson to secure a spot on the team.

Seth Jones has ‘no problem’ with Tortorella’s anthem stance

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 20:  Seth Jones #3 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates during an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on March 20, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. Devils won 2-1.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Getty
37 Comments

In the wake of Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest, it wasn’t surprising that Blue Jackets and Team USA head coach John Tortorella made headlines yesterday when he said “if any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there for the rest of the game.”

Reactions to Tortorella’s remarks came quickly.

On Wednesday, Seth Jones — who plays for Torts in Columbus and, potentially, against Torts at the upcoming World Cup of Hockey — weighed in on what’s become a hot-button issue.

“I think that it’s fair,” Jones told Sportsnet’s Fan 590. “That’s [Tortorella’s] way of doing it, and obviously they’re comparing it to the whole Colin Kaepernick thing, but he’s got a right to believe whatever he wants.”

Jones, the highest-drafted African American player in NHL history, will represent Team North America at the tourney. He was acquired by Columbus from Nashville in a midseason blockbuster and proceeded to play 41 games under Tortorella last year, averaging a career-high 24:27 per night.

Jones reiterated to Fan 590 that he doesn’t take issue with his coach’s stance.

“I have no problem,” he explained. “You’re not going to see anything from any of us with Torts, so I have no problem with that.”

Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown, who is also African American, took to Twitter on Tuesday evening to share his thoughts on the matter:

Brian Burke, serving as a senior advisor for Team USA, told USA Today he respects athletes’ rights to “express opinions, vote, attend political rallies and make political contributions.”

But Burke also said “I don’t believe the field of competition is a place to make political statements.”

In somewhat related news, it looks as though Jones’ Team North America is closing in on a plan for its pregame anthems at the World Cup.

According to TSN, the squad will play both Canadian and American anthems before each contest.

Clarke, Lindros to play in Flyers-Pens alumni game this January

Eric Lindros
Getty
7 Comments

The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins will each turn 50 this year, and celebrate the milestone by facing off in an outdoor game at Heinz Field in February.

One month earlier, the alumni will do battle.

On Wednesday, the Flyers announced their lineup for a game featuring “legends from both clubs,” one that “will renew their rivalry in a special, cross-state contest.”

Here’s Philly’s lineup for the contest, which will go Jan. 14 at Wells Fargo:

60’s / 70’s

Forwards – Bob Clarke, Bill Barber, Reggie Leach, Bob Kelly, Orest Kindrachuk

Defense – Joe Watson, Jim Watson

80’s

Forwards – Tim Kerr, Dave Poulin, Brian Propp, Murray Craven

Defense – Mark Howe, Brad Marsh, Kjell Samuelsson

90’s

Forwards – Eric Lindros, John LeClair

Defense – Luke Richardson, Terry Carkner

00’s

Forwards – Danny Briere, Simon Gagne

Defense – Eric Desjardins

Goaltender – Brian Boucher

Full alumni rosters will be announced closer to the game date.

World Cup: Czechs to play Mrazek and Neuvirth, Pavelec ‘cool’ with No. 3 gig

CALGARY, CANADA - JANUARY 4:  Petr Mrazek #2 of Team Czech Republic makes a glove save on the puck during the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championship Fifth Place game against Team Slovakia at the Scotiabank Saddledome on January 4, 2012 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  Team Czech Republic defeated Team Slovakia 5-2.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Getty
1 Comment

It’s unclear who the Czechs will start in goal for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.

But it’s very clear who they won’t start.

Head coach Josef Jandac told NHL.com that Petr Mrazek and Michal Neuvirth are in a “bit of a battle” for the No. 1 gig, and both will get a shot at the job in the three exhibition games leading up to the tournament.

“We are planning to have only two goaltenders in the games,” Jandac continued. “Ondrej Pavelec will be the third one.”

Though it’s not a huge shock Pavelec’s in this position — he had a mediocre campaign with the Jets last year, going 13-13-4 with a 2.78 GAA and .904 save percentage — it still has to sting a little. He was the Czech starter three times at the World Championships (capturing bronze in 2011) and reprised that role at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

But if the news is bothering Pavelec, he isn’t showing.

“I was aware of the situation and I’m cool with it,” he said. “I’m glad I can be a part of all this and you never know what happens during the tournament.”

The Czechs play an exhibition against Russia in St. Petersburg on Thursday, then take on the Russians again Friday at the O2 Arena in Prague on Saturday. It’s unclear which goalie will get which game, but the two are reportedly going to split ’em, before Jandac makes a decision for the third game (versus Team North America on Sept. 14) and the tournament opener.

Whatever the case, this is arguably the Czechs’ biggest storyline heading into the World Cup. The team is coming in as major underdog, having lost the services of top flight players like David Krejci, Tomas Hertl and Radko Gudas.

Mrazek and Neuvirth will be counted on to keep the Czechs in contention.

After Calgary overhauls goaltending, Ortio signs in Sweden

Joni Ortio
AP

Guess Joni Ortio saw the writing on the wall.

After a summer in which he wasn’t qualified by the Flames, then watched GM Brad Treliving acquire a pair of goalies in Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson, Ortio decided to sign on with Skelleftea of the Swedish League.

Skelleftea announced the move on Wednesday.

The move overseas culminates what was a pretty dramatic fall from grace. Back in ’13-14, Ortio — then just 22 years old — looked to be a bright goaltending prospect, going 27-8-0 with a 2.33 GAA and .926 save percentage with AHL Abbotsford.

That earned him a spot on the league’s All-Rookie team.

Ortio also showed relatively well at the NHL level early in his career, going 4-2-0 with a 2.52 GAA and .908 save percentage in a brief six-game cameo with the Flames.

That led him to announce he wanted to “steal that No. 1 job” for the ’15-16 campaign, something that never came to fruition — Ortio had a very disappointing campaign, was placed on waivers, and put up poor numbers for AHL Stockton.

After acquiring Elliott, Treliving did say he still liked Ortio, adding that the 25-year-old “finished real strong,” so there was some thought Ortio could possibly be back in Calgary as Elliott’s No. 2.

But that thought was extinguished when Treliving signed Johnson on the opening day of free agency.